Was/Is Religion Useful Even if it isn't True?

by cofty 74 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • cofty

    Of course I agree that religion suppresses individuality and is responsible for a lot of harm. The question is whether human society could have progressed without it.

    Robert Trivers work on reciprocal altruism and game theory explains how we operated as hunter-gatherers living in small groups of related individuals. But perhaps the advent of primitive religion is required to account for large groups of hundreds of non-kin individuals living in agricultural communities.

  • Ruby456

    Yes I agree cofty - it is the non kin aspect and then the need to have leaders who are not kin - to be able to trust them involves many different kinds of social society principles

    the gods were mostly to do with the greater power they could weild and this power was invested in ancestors. So the ancestors became divine gods. This ability to have a symbolic social hierarchy was an important development of the imagination

  • cofty

    Yes Ruby I agree. Leadership and submission is also controlled by moral instincts that limit the actions of the leader. Oppression triggers outrage.

    I will describe the six moral foundations that Haidt sets out later.

  • tor1500

    Hi All,

    Always great comments to make one think....Religion=Control. Spirituality= Moves your heart to care and to do something about it...Religion was supposed to teach spirituality, instead it taught mankind how to dominate one another rather than take care of one another...

    If you read the bible with Love on your mind, you won't see the do's and don'ts.

    Whether there is a God or not...at the end of the day, are we our brother keepers...does it really matter if we come from apes, or that the earth was created a million trillion years ago, is there life on other planets, the big bang, Jesus was just a man, never existed, God was evil, killed all them children, my two best stories...the prodigal son and the good Samaritan....should we drink the wine and bread, are we anointed ? Was this scripture meant for the sheep or the anointed....

    Here is goes....when someone is in need...do you have to go through all these mental hoops to help them? We are all in this together...there are some good things and some bad things, but no matter what, we are in this together....if there are other planets and other beings and want to invade Earth, will they care if you are a witness or a catholic or black or white...if they want to invade, they are killing earthlings...that's us...

    Some folks need religion to tell them what to do and how to live...otherwise they would follow Homey The Clown. Some don't need religion to tell them how to treat folks, they know, but they like to go to church, hall, & synagogue to fellowship, to be around like thinking folks...they like to belong...

    Before I became a witness I went to other churches...some crazy and some ok, most are motivational speakers, they talk to the broken hearted. But one thing is for sure, they may be nosy like all worship goers, but they dare not tell the pastor. Why? because they don't want to draw any attention to themselves. If you go to the pastor and say you saw so & so doing this or that, they will say, well thanks very much. But they will say to depending if you are one of those busy bodies...if you are telling on someone, what are you clearing your conscience about?

    Here's a thought...just think how bad some folks would really be if they weren't in church or the hall ? If they are this messed up and they worship...as they say in the bible...Woe to the earth...


  • John_Mann
    Our unique brains have made it possible for us to cooperate in groups in ways that are impossible for all non-human species.

    Our consciousness is unique but not our brains. Dolphins and whales have much more massive and sophisticated brains than humans.

    If consciousness is a by-product of brain, dolphins would have super consciousness.

    Why dolphins don't have at least a similar human intelligence?

    They are totally isolated from humans too. They could developed intelligence without human competition.

    How do you explain that?

  • cofty

    Very easily. What matters is brain size relative to body size and how the various modules of the brain are organised.

    Humans have the largest relative brain size and the most complex one.

    But this topic is about the evolutionary roots of religion.

  • John_Mann

    Globicephala melas: "For the first time, we show that a species of dolphin has more neocortical neurons than any mammal studied to date including humans


  • cofty

    John you are trying to take this topic off on a very strange tangent.

  • Phizzy

    Thanks for your Posts on this Cofty, I have long had the feeling that religion is good for some people at least in some ways.

    But the perceived benefits, could they not be achieved by being a member of certain non-religious Groups, Humanists perhaps ??

  • cofty

    That's an interesting question Phizzy.

    It appears to be the ritual of religion that has the power to bind groups. The closest secular example might be the closeness of military units that results from repeated collective actions. In the heat of battle soldiers don't take huge risks for king and country as much as for their comrades. The rave parties of the 80s also triggered the " hive switch".

    Haidt proposes that Harris is too simplistic in linking belief directly to actions. He suggests a three way interaction between believing belonging and action.

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